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Predators start trip with visit to Edmonton

Thursday, 12.17.2009 / 7:30 PM

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Predators start trip with visit to Edmonton
Nashville Predators vs. Edmonton Oilers

PREDATORS (20-11-3) at OILERS (15-14-4)

Last 10 -- Nashville 6-2-2; Edmonton 6-3-1

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the second time this season but the first time since Oct. 12, when the Oilers routed the Predators 6-1 in Nashville.

Big story -- The Predators have staked a claim as one of the NHL's best teams, but they've been helped by a friendly schedule. That ends with Nashville's visit toRexall Place, which begins a stretch of six-in-seven on the road. The Oilers came home Tuesday after winning five in a row on the road and allowed a late goal to defenseman Sean O'Donnell for a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles.

Team Scope:

Predators -- Don't look now, but the Predators can put the puck in the net. Their 7-4 win over TampaBay on Tuesday marked the sixth time in eight games they've scored four or more goals.

"Everyone is a lot more upbeat," said forward Joel Ward, who had two assists. "We have more jump. We are getting more goals from different guys each night. We have to keep that ball rolling."

Oilers -- Coach Pat Quinn was angry with his team's performance against the Kings, a game in which the Oilers spotted L.A. a two-goal lead, rallied to get even, then gave up a late goal to a player who hadn't scored in nearly two years.

"I haven't felt angry this year yet, but I am angry now about how we played," Quinn said after his team dropped its third in a row at home. "How could you like the result? We were the team that was supposed to be rested and fresh. I don't know if there is any excuse for being dumb.

"We don't shoot the puck, we stay out too long, we make bad changes, we do things that beat ourselves. It's hard not to be upset."

Who's hot -- Nashville's Martin Erat has 10 goals and 6 assists in the Preds' last 17 games, and he scored his seventh goal in seven games Tuesday. Erat has a four-game point streak in Edmonton, recording 5 goals and 2 assists. … Ryan Potulny was one of the few Oilers who played well against Los Angeles; he set up the first goal and scored the second.

Injury report -- Nashville forward Jordin Tootoo is out 3-4 weeks with a lower-body injury. The Oilers are still without goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, whose back problems refuse to go away. They did get defenseman Denis Grebeshkov (knee) back against the Kings, but are also without forwards Mike Comrie, Fernando Pisani and Ales Hemsky, all of whom are out long-term.

Stat pack -- Nashville has had 14 players score goals in its last 17 games, with four getting four goals or more. … Edmonton has not allowed more than three goals in six games since falling 7-3 at Vancouver on Nov. 28.

Puck drop -- The Predators are on a roll, but they'll be tested through the end of December by a schedule that keeps them on the road. Expect the Oilers to rebound after some harsh words from their coach following Tuesday night's loss.

2009-2010 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 02 '10EDM 3 at NSH 4J. Arnott
Jan 12 '10NSH 5 at EDM 3P. Hornqvist
Dec 17 '09NSH 6 at EDM 3P. Hornqvist
Oct 12 '09EDM 6 at NSH 1G. Brule
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
S. Sullivan3591423+1622
J. Dumont2861723+81212
J. Arnott29111122+51440
D. Legwand3571522-11202
M. Erat32111021-22442
S. Weber3361218+21941
R. Suter3521618+32010
P. Hornqvist3410717+51024
J. Ward3361016-51021
D. Hamhuis313811+52600
M. Goc33549+2600
J. Tootoo19279+31801
C. Franson25257+61201
K. Klein35167-11300
J. Smithson35606+34601
F. Bouillon35156-61610
R. Jones16415+2810
D. Scatchard14224+21100
M. Santorelli21213-6800
C. Wilson10112-1000
W. Belak17022+21900
A. Thuresson10022-2200
A. Sulzer9011+4000
C. O'Reilly9011+0200
N. Spaling2011+2000
T. Laakso7000-2200
B. Guite4000-1200
T. Grant3000-1900
P. Olvecky1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
P. Rinne2514-6-2626532.75.905
D. Ellis157-5-1343812.65.911
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
D. Penner34181937+12850
L. Visnovsky3281725+10631
G. Brule3191322+11902
A. Hemsky2271522+7830
S. Gagner3371320-21921
P. O'Sullivan346915-161612
S. Horcoff307714-141231
R. Nilsson194711-8031
R. Potulny186410+0421
D. Grebeshkov213710-101610
S. Souray183710-64300
L. Smid32189+122300
M. Comrie16538-31020
E. Moreau33448+22901
A. Cogliano34358+4400
Z. Stortini34347+47711
T. Gilbert34257+0810
J. Jacques27246-125700
S. Staios22066-52000
R. Stone15055+31800
J. Strudwick30033-41600
L. Reddox9022-2400
C. McDonald2101+1000
T. Chorney13011-6400
R. O'Marra3011+0000
F. Pisani6000-3600
S. MacIntyre4000+0700
T. Peckham4000-5400
D. Arsene2000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Deslauriers168-6-2444702.85.906
N. Khabibulin187-9-2556023.03.909
D. Dubnyk10-0-03243.46.875